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Bear Market Beckons as U.S. Stocks' 2022 Descent Deepens

It hasn't been so low since March 2020

The stock market's brutal year neared a grim milestone as the S&P 500's slide on Monday threatened to leave it in a bear market for the first time since March 2020, fueled by worries over sky high inflation, a hawkish Federal Reserve and future economic growth.

The benchmark S&P 500 (.SPX) index fell below 3837.248 during Monday's session, a decline that on an intraday basis put it more than 20 percent below its Jan. 3 record closing high. If the index maintains such a decline through the market's close, the 20 percent drop would confirm a commonly used definition of a bear market.

If history is any guide, a bear market would mean more pain could be in store for investors. The S&P 500 has fallen by an average of 32.7 percent in 13 bear markets since 1946, including a nearly 57 percent drop during the 2007-2009 bear market during the financial crisis, according to Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.

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